Tom Brady and Eli Manning aside, the Super Bowl is also a shootout of the creative type, with major brands giving it their best shot. This year did not disappoint and there were some real winners. As is also usually the case, there were spots that fell prey to “vampire creativity,” a phenomenon that occurs when creative is too original, too entertaining or too involving – the story of a commercial can be so mesmerizing that it gets in the way of the brand. A perfect example of this was a third quarter spot that showed a car driving at night, first avoiding the proverbial deer in the headlights and then, in rapid succession, Alice Cooper and Richard Simmons (although the driver thought long and hard about avoiding poor Richard). I laughed out loud during the spot, but talking with someone about it the next day, neither of us could remember whom it was for. Can you? There are other creative spots that ran during the game that did not suffer from vampire creativity. Case in point, the “Battle of the Balloons” ad for Coke. This was the one where Underdog and Stewie parade balloons fight over a balloon bottle of Coke). Loved the spot, and remembered the brand (which was, interestingly, the very object on which the spot’s creative revolved, literally). What made the difference? The spot – it was for Bridgestone tires –featured late brand identification (a second or two at the end of the spot). Sometimes late brand IDs are used to build suspense in hopes of capturing attention. However, in this case, by withholding the brand name until the end we are invited to make our own associations during the spot. The result is that we may – post viewing – associate the spot with another brand (Michelin?), another category (was it an ad for how well the car handled?), or worse yet, make no association at all. Next year we’ll see another round of great and not-so-great Super Bowl advertising. Hopefully Bridgestone’s agency will remember the brand, because if they don’t we won’t.